So the king and Haman went to dine with Queen Esther,
and as they were drinking wine on that second day, the king again asked, "Queen Esther, what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted."
Then Queen Esther answered, "If I have found favor with you, O king, and if it pleases your majesty, grant me my life--this is my petition. And spare my people--this is my request.
For I and my people have been sold for destruction and slaughter and annihilation. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king. "
King Xerxes asked Queen Esther, "Who is he? Where is the man who has dared to do such a thing?"
Esther said, "The adversary and enemy is this vile Haman." Then Haman was terrified before the king and queen.
The king got up in a rage, left his wine and went out into the palace garden. But Haman, realizing that the king had already decided his fate, stayed behind to beg Queen Esther for his life.
Just as the king returned from the palace garden to the banquet hall, Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was reclining. The king exclaimed, "Will he even molest the queen while she is with me in the house?" As soon as the word left the king's mouth, they covered Haman's face.
Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs attending the king, said, "A gallows seventy-five feet high stands by Haman's house. He had it made for Mordecai, who spoke up to help the king." The king said, "Hang him on it!"
So they hanged Haman on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the king's fury subsided.
Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.
So the sisters sent word to Jesus, "Lord, the one you love is sick."
When he heard this, Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it."5
Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.
Then he said to his disciples, "Let us go back to Judea."8
"But Rabbi," they said, "a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?"
Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world's light.10It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light."11
After he had said this, he went on to tell them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up."12
His disciples replied, "Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better."
Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
So then he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead,15and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him."16
Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him."
On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.
Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem,
and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
"Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died.
But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask."
Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again."24
Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;26and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"27
"Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world."
And after she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. "The Teacher is here," she said, "and is asking for you."
When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him.
Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him.
When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.
34"Where have you laid him?" he asked. "Come and see, Lord," they replied.
Then the Jews said, "See how he loved him!"
But some of them said, "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?"
Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.
39"Take away the stone," he said. "But, Lord," said Martha, the sister of the dead man, "by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days."
Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"41
So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me.42I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me."43
When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!"44
The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go."
Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him.
But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.
Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. "What are we accomplishing?" they asked. "Here is this man performing many miraculous signs.
If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation."
Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, "You know nothing at all!
You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish."
He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation,
and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.
So from that day on they plotted to take his life.
Therefore Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the Jews. Instead he withdrew to a region near the desert, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples.
When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, many went up from the country to Jerusalem for their ceremonial cleansing before the Passover.
They kept looking for Jesus, and as they stood in the temple area they asked one another, "What do you think? Isn't he coming to the Feast at all?"
But the chief priests and Pharisees had given orders that if anyone found out where Jesus was, he should report it so that they might arrest him.
Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
Here a dinner was given in Jesus' honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him.
Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected,
"Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages. "
He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
7"Leave her alone," Jesus replied. "[It was intended] that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.8You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me."9
Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.
So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well,
for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in him.
The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.
They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna! " "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the King of Israel!"
Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written,
"Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey's colt."
At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.
Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word.
Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him.
So the Pharisees said to one another, "See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!"
Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast.
They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. "Sir," they said, "we would like to see Jesus."
Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.
Jesus replied, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.24I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.25The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.26Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.27"Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.28Father, glorify your name!" Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again."
The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
Jesus said, "This voice was for your benefit, not mine.31Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.32But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself."33
He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.
The crowd spoke up, "We have heard from the Law that the Christ will remain forever, so how can you say, 'The Son of Man must be lifted up'? Who is this 'Son of Man'?"
Then Jesus told them, "You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going.36Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light." When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.
Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him.
This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: "Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?"
For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:
"He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn--and I would heal them."
Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him.
Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue;
for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.
Then Jesus cried out, "When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me.45When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me.46I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.47"As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it.48There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day.49For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.50I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say."
That same day King Xerxes gave Queen Esther the estate of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came into the presence of the king, for Esther had told how he was related to her.
The king took off his signet ring, which he had reclaimed from Haman, and presented it to Mordecai. And Esther appointed him over Haman's estate.
Esther again pleaded with the king, falling at his feet and weeping. She begged him to put an end to the evil plan of Haman the Agagite, which he had devised against the Jews.
Then the king extended the gold scepter to Esther and she arose and stood before him.
"If it pleases the king," she said, "and if he regards me with favor and thinks it the right thing to do, and if he is pleased with me, let an order be written overruling the dispatches that Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, devised and wrote to destroy the Jews in all the king's provinces.
For how can I bear to see disaster fall on my people? How can I bear to see the destruction of my family?"
King Xerxes replied to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, "Because Haman attacked the Jews, I have given his estate to Esther, and they have hanged him on the gallows.
Now write another decree in the king's name in behalf of the Jews as seems best to you, and seal it with the king's signet ring--for no document written in the king's name and sealed with his ring can be revoked."
At once the royal secretaries were summoned--on the twenty-third day of the third month, the month of Sivan. They wrote out all Mordecai's orders to the Jews, and to the satraps, governors and nobles of the 127 provinces stretching from India to Cush. These orders were written in the script of each province and the language of each people and also to the Jews in their own script and language.
Mordecai wrote in the name of King Xerxes, sealed the dispatches with the king's signet ring, and sent them by mounted couriers, who rode fast horses especially bred for the king.
The king's edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill and annihilate any armed force of any nationality or province that might attack them and their women and children; and to plunder the property of their enemies.
The day appointed for the Jews to do this in all the provinces of King Xerxes was the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar.
A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so that the Jews would be ready on that day to avenge themselves on their enemies.
The couriers, riding the royal horses, raced out, spurred on by the king's command. And the edict was also issued in the citadel of Susa.
Mordecai left the king's presence wearing royal garments of blue and white, a large crown of gold and a purple robe of fine linen. And the city of Susa held a joyous celebration.
For the Jews it was a time of happiness and joy, gladness and honor.
In every province and in every city, wherever the edict of the king went, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating. And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them.
On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar, the edict commanded by the king was to be carried out. On this day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but now the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand over those who hated them.
The Jews assembled in their cities in all the provinces of King Xerxes to attack those seeking their destruction. No one could stand against them, because the people of all the other nationalities were afraid of them.
And all the nobles of the provinces, the satraps, the governors and the king's administrators helped the Jews, because fear of Mordecai had seized them.
Mordecai was prominent in the palace; his reputation spread throughout the provinces, and he became more and more powerful.
The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and they did what they pleased to those who hated them.
In the citadel of Susa, the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred men.
They also killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha,
Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha,
Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai and Vaizatha,
the ten sons of Haman son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews. But they did not lay their hands on the plunder.
The number of those slain in the citadel of Susa was reported to the king that same day.
The king said to Queen Esther, "The Jews have killed and destroyed five hundred men and the ten sons of Haman in the citadel of Susa. What have they done in the rest of the king's provinces? Now what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? It will also be granted."
"If it pleases the king," Esther answered, "give the Jews in Susa permission to carry out this day's edict tomorrow also, and let Haman's ten sons be hanged on gallows."
So the king commanded that this be done. An edict was issued in Susa, and they hanged the ten sons of Haman.
The Jews in Susa came together on the fourteenth day of the month of Adar, and they put to death in Susa three hundred men, but they did not lay their hands on the plunder.
Meanwhile, the remainder of the Jews who were in the king's provinces also assembled to protect themselves and get relief from their enemies. They killed seventy-five thousand of them but did not lay their hands on the plunder.
This happened on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar, and on the fourteenth they rested and made it a day of feasting and joy.
The Jews in Susa, however, had assembled on the thirteenth and fourteenth, and then on the fifteenth they rested and made it a day of feasting and joy.
That is why rural Jews--those living in villages--observe the fourteenth of the month of Adar as a day of joy and feasting, a day for giving presents to each other.
Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far,
to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar
as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor.
So the Jews agreed to continue the celebration they had begun, doing what Mordecai had written to them.
For Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them and had cast the "pur" (that is, the lot) for their ruin and destruction.
But when the plot came to the king's attention, he issued written orders that the evil scheme Haman had devised against the Jews should come back onto his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows.
(Therefore these days were called Purim, from the word "pur".) Because of everything written in this letter and because of what they had seen and what had happened to them,
the Jews took it upon themselves to establish the custom that they and their descendants and all who join them should without fail observe these two days every year, in the way prescribed and at the time appointed.
These days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family, and in every province and in every city. And these days of Purim should never cease to be celebrated by the Jews, nor should the memory of them die out among their descendants.
So Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, along with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter concerning Purim.
And Mordecai sent letters to all the Jews in the 127 provinces of the kingdom of Xerxes--words of goodwill and assurance--
to establish these days of Purim at their designated times, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had decreed for them, and as they had established for themselves and their descendants in regard to their times of fasting and lamentation.
Esther's decree confirmed these regulations about Purim, and it was written down in the records.